Q: Where are you from originally and what brought you here?
A: I was born and raised in Indiana. I’ve lived in Europe and on the East Coast and came here in 2001. I had several job offers prior to that, and choosing Cleveland was the best decision ever! Music brought me here, yet what’s kept me here are the unique assets that create career-niche possibilities. Although I may primarily be known as America’s first female classical pianist to win a Grammy, I’m also able to hold a joint-appointment professorship at Cleveland State University (CSU), advise the Entertainment and Sports Law Association and specialize in curing music-performance-related injuries.
Q: How much did you know about the area before moving here?
A: As a classical musician, I was familiar with The Cleveland Orchestra and the city’s rich cultural traditions. Other than that, I knew very little. I didn’t know it was such a gem of a place to live and work; a place where you can thrive and also chill.
Q: What has surprised you the most about living here?
A: I’m continually marveled by the mutually supportive and inclusive environment. People value working together. AsiaTown is a great example of this. Where other cities tend to separate pockets of ethnic communities, we celebrate our differences. The Cultural Gardens at Rockefeller Park are another beautiful example of multiculturalism. There’s also a good mix between conservative and progressive thinking, which provides opportunities to be exposed to a wide variety of views.
Q: What are your favorite places to go or things to do?
A: It’s amazing that you can experience world-class culture for free or at a fraction of the cost in other cities. Cleveland Public Theatre in Gordon Square offers some cutting-edge performances. Great Lakes Theater has timeless classics at Playhouse Square. CSU’s School of Music offers live concerts—jazz, pop, new and classical music—mostly for free. And the Museum of Divine Statues in Lakewood is a hidden gem!
Q: What are some of your favorite restaurants?
A: There are so many! Cleveland hits the mark beyond my imagination, with an exceptional array of cuisines from different cultures. Just to name a few: Sarita, Sokolowski’s, Li Hua, Siam Café, Nate’s, Empress Taytu, Lola, Pier W, Collision Bend…and don’t forget dessert at Mitchell’s Ice Cream.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to say about Cleveland?
A: This is an excellent time to be in Cleveland. It has been a well-kept secret for years and is experiencing a vast and brilliant renaissance. Iconic cultural institutions are celebrating their centenaries and well-supported by the community.
This means growth possibilities and resources, especially for creatives. Young professionals have great opportunities, as the market is not oversaturated. Educational opportunities are also higher value and lower cost than most. CSU is a great example. Students from all over choose to study at this thriving urban university, surrounded by exciting cultural, sports and entertainment venues. CSU’s School of Music has among the nation’s best Music Therapy programs, and Cleveland-Marshall College of Law has leading programs in Entertainment/Intellectual Property, Cybersecurity, Space, and Health.